ACT Kings 2022 Match

Mark Buchanan Master-Class in feisty Canberra Winds!

There were ten Roseville Members who travelled to Canberra to compete in the ACT Rifle Championships from the 16th to the 20th of November.   For Ross Webb, Nigel Russell, Paul Russell and Nicholas Bonanni, it was the first time they had competed at Canberra and they soon understood why this range has a reputation.   They say that a win at Canberra is worth two wins elsewhere, and this tournament was no exception.

With the State Teams matches schedule to follow the ACT Championships – this event was very well patronised with a record 170 shooters contesting the lead-up and a total of 265 competitors competing in the Kings Prize.   It was sensational – to be on a rifle range with so many competitors and brought back memories of years gone by where a Queens Prize would see more than 350 competitors at Malabar.

The mornings at Canberra tend to be kinder to shooters than the afternoon – however on the first day of the Lead-Up event – it snowed!!   A southerly polar vortex pushed rapidly through Canberra and then north to Sydney and so the 500M match in the lead-up was tricky.   Mark Buchanan showed his pedigree putting down a 50.6 in TR-A and Nigel Russell took the Gold Medal in TR-C with a 48.6.   Ross Webb posted a credible 56.1 in FS-B – re-acquainting himself with the Canberra winds.

Snow falling on the Canberra Range – Day 1 of the Lead-Up

The first 600M match on Day 1 of the lead-up saw the winds come in the side-door with the occasional straightening of the flags.   By now the snow had disappeared and the sun had come out and the range was a balmy 25 degrees.   People were in t-shirts again.   Sam Houston got a hold of the 600M wind and posted a 49.2 to pick-up the Bronze Medal in TR-B.   Nigel Russell continued on his good shooting in TR-C to post a 48.1 and pick up another Gold Medal.  Ross Webb backed up his good showing in the morning with a 52.1 in FS-B showing good consistency.

The conclusion of Day 1 of the lead-up saw Mark Buchanan put the hammer down with a 75.10 at 700M to come fourth in TR-A and fourth in the Day 1 Agg.  Hot on his heals was Paul Russell who finally got his mojo and posted a 75.7 to win TR-B at 700M and claim a Gold Medal.  Nigel Russell also scraped into 3rd Place in TR-C with a 68.5 to collect another medal and win the Day 1 Agg in TR-C.

Day 1 Agg Winner – Lead-Up – Nigel Russell TR-C

Paul Russell goes clean at 700M in the Lead Up – 75.7 TR-B

Day 2 of the Lead-Up started at the “easy 700M”.   Easy for some but not all.   Mark Buchanan went clean with a fine 50.6 and Nigel Russell came 3rd in TR-C with 44.3 to collect another Bronze Medal along the way.   Ross Webb showed he was in the mood on the Thursday posting a credible 56.3 coming 5th in FS-B for the match.

And so it was back to 800M for an afternoon of spoiling winds coming in from the side-door and the back-door of the Canberra Range.  Mark held for a 49.3 in TR-A.  Nigel dropped a few to many points allowing the local blokes in Canberra Club to move up the board a bit and put pressure on his lead in TR-C.

The last match of the Lead-Up was 15 shots at 800M.   Mark was caught in a tricky wind-set and posted a 70.5 to slip down the ladder a bit.   Adrian Bonanni fared a little better posting a 72.6 in TR-A but still short of the elusive possible.  Nigel slipped on a banana-peel helping the next-door neighbour during his match – and slipping off the top rung in TR-B.  Ross Webb posted a reasonable 79.1 in FS-B to place 9th in the match.

So the lead-up was run and done.   At the end of the match Roseville only had 1 badge winner – Nigel Russell taking out Number 2 Badge in TR-C with a 311.18.

Nicholas Bonanni travelled to Canberra by train on Thursday evening and Tim Walter drove down Thursday afternoon to enter the fray for the ACT Kings Prize.   Ross Webb did not compete in the Kings – and decided to enjoy the sights of Canberra while the rest of the Club contingent toiled away on the range.   Nicholas had to show all his patience and perseverance at the first 500M match for the ACT Kings – as his old-man had pushed his fire-formed cases too hard, and he had to retire from the mound twice with case-separations.   It was not the start you want at an ACT Kings – but he fired the full compliment and posted a 41.3 in TR-C for his first match.   Mark was all-business at the first match putting down a 50.7 in TR-A.   The wind was quite strong from the right – but not consistent – so it was a real case of firing when the flags were right.

At the second 500M the scores went up a bit – as conditions settled a little and shooters got into the flow of the match.   Mark continued where he left off – posting a credible 50.6 in TR-A.   Adrian Bonanni got beaten by his son – by 1 centre.  He posted a 49.2 in TR-A and Nicholas posted a 49.3 in TR-C coming 5th and earning bragging rights over the old-man.  Tim Walter posted a credible 48.4 in TR-B.

The 15-shot match in the afternoon at 600M proved quite tricky  –  with pulsing wind and quick direction changes in the flags.  Mark closed out his day with a 73.7 – only two-points day on Day 1 of the Kings in TR-A.  Paul Russell showed his penchant for 600M again – posting a credible 73.5 in TR-B and Nigel Russell lifted his game to post a 71.2 in TR-C.   At the end of Day 1 – Mark was sitting in 25th place in TR-A and Nigel was sitting in 6th place in TR-C.

The Tiverton Cup match was held in the late afternoon – when all 280 shooters had finished their individual matches.   The NSW Junior Training programme requested the presence of Paul Russell and Nicholas Bonanni to shoot in an U/19 Training team, and so Roseville co-opted the services of Bill Ballantyne from Hornsby-Manly TRC and Mal McKenzie from Wingham to fill in for our Junior team members.   The young Roseville members shot very well in the U/19 team showing their credentials.   Nicholas posted a 46.2 and Paul posted a 47.5.   In the Tiverton Cup – our Roseville Gold team came 5th in a field of 13 TR Teams – with a score of 198.18 – 7 centres behind a classy Lyndhurst Team in 4th place.   The winners of the Tiverton Cup were Holsworthy Rifle Club posting a score of 200 with 35 centres.

Friday evening was the Captains dinner held at the lovely George Bar and Dining restaurant in the Lake George Hotel at Bungendore.   We were pleased to be joined by Phill Hodder who drove down from Sydney to have dinner and spend a couple of social days on the range – unable to get time off work to compete in the ACT Kings.

Captains Dinner at the Lake George Hotel – Bungendore

Captains Dinner at the Lake George Hotel – Bungendore

Saturday at Canberra is known as super-Saturday – it is where shooters can consolidate their position or even lift themselves up the board – with two 800M matches at the end of the day.   The morning was at a very benign 700M – and Adrian Bonanni made the most of the lovely conditions early posting a 50.7 in TR-A.   Believe it or not – he came 44th in the match for TR-A showing how good conditions were.  Mark went 2 centres better to post a 50.9 and come 7th in TR-A for the match.   Sam Houston showed some class in TR-B posting a 49.5 and Nigel Russell shot well posting a 49.3.

So it was back to 800M for the a 10 and 15 shot match.   Mark was all-class just slipping out of the bulls-eye once on the first match to post a 49.8 in TR-A.  Tim Walter posted a credible 47.4 in TR-B and Nigel held is ground with a 46.1 in TR-C.   Conditions got a bit trickier for the 15 shot match later in the afternoon – with the wind flicking and changing as it came in from the left hand side of the range.  Mark posted a 73.3 in these tricky conditions in TR-A.   Adrian Bonanni got caught up in the Canberra washing machine posting a poor 67.5 and Nicholas Bonanni pounced – flogging the old-man again by posting a credible 69.4 in TR-C.

At the end of the Saturday matches – there were no Roseville members sitting in the badge list – but some were close.

The final day of the ACT Kings saw some of the most feral winds play across the range at the 600M mound.   A westerly had blown in and it was flicking North Westerly to come in from both the side and the back-door.   On top of that – those who shot early had to deal with the rain.   Mark showed his wind-reading pedigree and posted a 49.4 in TR-A in these conditions coming 29th in A-Grade.   Tim Walter also showed his grit to post a 46.4 in TR-B.   Conditions did not settle down for the final 15 shot match of the tournament with the winds gusting to 16-20 MPH and flicking.   Marks final match saw him post a 71.6 in TR-A and jump up into the Badge List – taking out Number 23 badge in A-Grade.   His perseverance and ability to minimise the points he dropped shone through.   Nigel Russell posted a credible 68.1 in TR-C – but the local Canberra TR-C shooter put up a 74.6 showing that local knowledge counts for a lot on Canberra Range.  Adrian Bonanni found the wind un-readable – firing good shot – but stringing them along a water-line from magpie to magpie.   Nicholas again pounced,  putting up a 64.3 and taking another match off the old-man.

In the Grand Aggregate – Mark Buchanan picked up number 16 badge in TR-A and Nigel Russell picked up number 2 Badge in TR-C.   It was a wonderful and challenging five days of competition mixed with good camaraderie, good dining and great memories.    We are all looking forward to the NSW Kings Prize in January 2023 – where the threads on our wind-arms will not wear out!

The full results can be found here:




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